#EndSARSNow: Dona��t Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater

By Adewole Kehinde

As a public and private office holder, I have been privileged to work with professional policemen who knew their duties and discharged them professionally.

I have been disturbed by the stories and videos of infringements allegedly by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squads.

Last year, October 2016 to be precise, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris approved a training programme for the Nigeria Police officers and men serving in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in all the 12 Zonal Commands of the Nigeria Police Force being organized by Nigerians Unite Against Terror (NUAT).

The training objectives among others are:

  • To enhance the capacity of the Nigeria Police Force through training on human rights and citizensa�� relations; and
  • To facilitate respect and defence of the fundamental rights of the citizens in the Nigeria Police Force and establish cordial relations between the Police and Citizens.

As a resources person at the training programme, I made a presentation on Arrest and Detention; Torture, Use of Force & Firearms; and Maintenance of Public Order which I will share here for all to read and digest.


AnA�arrestA�is the actA�ofA�depriving peopleA�ofA�their liberty, usually in relation to an investigation or preventionA�ofA�a crime,A�andA�thus detaining the arrested person in a procedure as partA�ofA�the Criminal Justice System.

The purposeA�ofA�arrestA�is to bring suspect before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicionA�ofA�having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so.A�ArrestA�is oneA�ofA�the lawful methodsA�ofA�securing the attendanceA�ofA�an accused person in court. It is also the most drastic method. The methodsA�ofA�securing attendanceA�ofA�an accused person include: summons, written noticeA�andA�indictment.

The manner in whichA�arrestA�is properly administered is when an accused may be arrested with a warrant. It is always better to obtain a warrant. The advantageA�ofA�obtaining a warrant is that it can safeguard the Police against civil claimsA�ofA�unlawfulA�arrest. If a warrant is used, a copy must be provided upon request.

ArrestA�is allowed when the Police have reasonable grounds for suspecting that someone is committing, have committed or be guiltyA�of committing an indictable offence.

The rightsA�ofA�suspects uponA�arrestA�includes but not limited to:

  • No suspect shall be deprivedA�ofA�his or her liberty except on such groundsA�andA�in accordance with such procedures as are established by law.
  • Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the timeA�ofA�theA�arrest,A�ofA�the reasons for his or herA�arrest
  • Anyone who is arrested shall be promptly informedA�ofA�any charges against him or her
  • Anyone who is arrested shall be brought promptly before a judicial authority
  • Anyone who is arrested has the right to appear before a judicial authority for the purposeA�ofA�having the legalityA�ofA�his or her arrestA�orA�detentionA�reviewed without delay,A�andA�shall be released if theA�detentionA�is found to be unlawful
  • Anyone who is arrested has the right to trial within a reasonable time, or to be release fromA�detention. Pending trial shall be the exception rather than the rule
  • All arrested or detained persons shall have access to a lawyer or other legal representativeA�andA�adequate opportunity to communicate with that representative
  • A recordA�ofA�everyA�arrestA�must be madeA�andA�shall include: the reason for theA�arrest; the timeA�ofA�theA�arrest; the time the arrested person is transferred to a placeA�ofA�custody; the timeA�ofA�appearance before a judicial authority; the identityA�ofA�involved officers; precise information on the placeA�ofA�custody;A�andA�detailsA�ofA�interrogation
  • TheA�arrestA�record shall be communicated to the detainee, or to his or her legal counsel
  • The familyA�ofA�the arrested person shall be notified promptlyA�ofA�his or herA�arrestA�andA�placeA�ofA�detention
  • No one shall be compelled to confess or to testify against himself or herself
  • Where necessary, an interpreter shall be provided during interrogation.

International law provides substantive safeguards against unlawful as well as arbitraryA�detention. a�?Arbitrarinessa�? is to be interpreted broadly to include not only unlawfulness, but also elementsA�ofA�inappropriateness, injusticeA�andA�lackA�ofA�predictability. To guard against arbitrariness, anyA�detentionA�needs to be necessary in the individual case, reasonable in all the circumstancesA�andA�proportionate to a legitimate purpose.

Further, failure to consider less coercive or intrusive means could also renderA�detentionA�arbitrary

A SARS official must firstA�ofA�all determine whether there is sufficient evidence so that he can charge the arrested person with an offence. If the SARS official is unable to determine that there was such sufficient evidence, the arrested person must be released. The SARS official may not be willing to release the arrested person if he believes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the detentionA�ofA�the arrested person is absolutely necessary.

Such reasonable grounds are for instance the need to secure the evidence, or the need to obtain the evidence by the questioningA�ofA�the arrested person. In case such grounds are found, the SARS official must then authorise theA�detentionA�ofA�the suspected person. Following the authorisation, theA�detentionA�record must be open for the suspect, the suspect must also be informedA�ofA�the reasons for hisA�detention,A�andA�the suspect must be also advisedA�ofA�his rights. The SARS official have the power to arrange for the detainee to be searchedA�andA�certain items can be seized. As in accordance with the PoliceA�and Criminal Evidence Act, the items which can be seized include clothing or anything which could help the detainee damage himself, others or the SARS property, or which could help him escape or interfere with evidence which relates to the offence.

Finally, all SARS officials must respect the under listed International Human Rights Practice pertaining toA�Arrest:

  • Review regularly, for a clear understanding, your powersA�ofA�arrestA�andA�the procedures to adopt uponA�andA�followingA�arrest
  • Participate in training to developA�andA�maintain the necessary interpersonal skills,A�andA�especially skillsA�ofA�communication, to enable you to effect arrests expertly, discreetlyA�andA�with due respect for human dignity
  • Where resistance is not evident, attempt calm, polite, disarming language when effecting anA�arrest, resorting to strong, authoritative tones only when necessary
  • DevelopA�andA�maintain the necessary technicalA�andA�tactical skills to enable you to carry out arrests expertly, discreetlyA�andA�with due respect for human dignity
  • DevelopA�andA�maintain skills in theA�useA�ofA�handcuffsA�andA�other meansA�ofA�restraint
  • Develop your self-confidence, including through self-defence skills
  • Study carefully the chapter on theA�useA�ofA�force, as it applies to arrests
  • Seek anA�arrestA�order/warrant whenever possible
  • Carry a small card in your uniform, setting out the rightsA�ofA�an arrestee,A�andA�read those rights, verbatim, to the arrestee once he or she has been secured
  • Study conflict-resolution techniques, through in-service training or community education programmes
  • Keep carefulA�arrestA�records, with detail as the first ruleA�ofA�thumb CommandA�andA�supervisory officials
  • IssueA�andA�enforce clear standing orders onA�arrestA�procedures
  • Provide continuous training to all officers on procedures forA�arrest, the rightsA�ofA�the arrested,A�andA�techniques for effectingA�arrest safelyA�andA�humanely
  • Provide training in interpersonal skills, conflict resolution techniques, self-defenceA�andA�theA�useA�ofA�restraint mechanisms
  • Develop standard forms for the recordingA�ofA�arrestA�information, based on this chapterA�andA�the lawsA�andA�procedures forA�arrestA�in your jurisdiction
  • When arrests can be planned in advance, ensure that a rangeA�ofA�options is available,A�andA�that planning, preparation, briefing andA�tactics adopted are appropriate to the circumstancesA�andA�conditions under which theA�arrestA�is to be made
  • Debrief the officers involved after everyA�arrest,A�andA�carefully check theA�arrestA�record to be sure it is complete
  • Establish procedures to ensure the unhindered accessA�ofA�legal counsel to arrested persons


If a suspect is arrestedA�andA�held at a Police station or other premises he/she has certain statutory rights. Detained persons are treated in accordance with the Nigeria Criminal Procedure Act. The Police officer must ensure that the detained person is informedA�ofA�his rights.

Other statutory rightsA�ofA�detainee include:

  • All persons deprivedA�ofA�their liberty shall be treated with humanityA�andA�with respect for the inherent dignityA�ofA�the human person
  • Everyone charged with a penal offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial
  • No detainee shall be subjected toA�tortureA�or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or to any formA�of violence or threats
  • Detained persons shall be held only in officially recognized placesA�ofA�detention,A�andA�their familyA�andA�legal representatives are to receive full information
  • Juveniles are to be separated from adults; women from men;A�andA�un-convicted persons from convicted persons
  • Decisions about the durationA�andA�legalityA�ofA�detentionA�are to be made by a judicial or equivalent authority
  • The detainee shall have the right to be informedA�ofA�the reason forA�detentionA�andA�any charges against him or her
  • Detainees have the right to contact with the outside world, to visits from family members,A�andA�to communicate privatelyA�andA�in person with a legal representative
  • Detainees shall be kept in humane facilities, designed to preserve health,A�andA�shall be provided with adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, medical services, exerciseA�andA�itemsA�ofA�personal hygiene
  • The religiousA�andA�moral beliefsA�ofA�detainees shall be respected
  • Every detainee shall have the right to appear before a judicial authority,A�andA�to have the legalityA�ofA�his or herA�detentionA�reviewed
  • The rightsA�andA�special statusA�ofA�womenA�andA�juvenile detainees are to be respected
  • No one shall take advantageA�ofA�the situationA�ofA�a detained person to compel him or her to confess or to otherwise incriminate himself or herself or another person
  • Measures for disciplineA�andA�orderA�shall be only those set out in lawA�andA�regulations, shall not exceed those necessary for safe custody,A�andA�shall not be inhumane

The presumptionA�ofA�innocence is oneA�ofA�the most importantA�andA�ancient rights embodied in criminal justice systems around the world. The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty is oneA�ofA�those principles that influences the treatment to which an accused person is subjected from the criminal investigations through the trial proceedings, up toA�andA�including the endA�ofA�the final appeal.

This principle is fundamental for the protectionA�ofA�human rightsA�andA�must guide the prosecution as well as the defence lawyers.

In this context the term a�?presumptiona�? should not be confused with the conceptsA�ofA�rebuttable or non-rebuttable presumption. In general, a presumption is a rule which permits a court to assume that a fact is true until a preponderanceA�ofA�evidence disproves or outweighs (rebuts) the presumption. A presumption is rebuttable if it can be refuted by factual evidence, on the contrary, it is conclusive or irrefutable if the presumption does not provide for a way to be disproved.A�

a�?Presumptiona�?, in the contextA�ofA�the presumptionA�ofA�innocence, means that the burdenA�ofA�proving the charge is on the state. This guarantees that guilt cannot be declared until the charge has been proven by the state.

In many countries the presumptionA�ofA�innocence comes with the corollary that the accused must have the right to remain silentA�and there must be no need for him to participate in any way to the acquisitionA�ofA�evidence.

However, while this happens in some countries such as the United States, the presumptionA�ofA�innocence does not necessarily imply the right to remain silent. For instance, in France the right to remain silent is granted only during the judicial investigation, while during the investigatoryA�detentionA�conducted by the Police such right is not envisioned.

The presumptionA�ofA�innocence guarantees that the accused has the benefitA�ofA�doubt, which has to be declared in the final decision by a fact finder. The fact finder must ignore all pre-trial evidenceA�ofA�guiltA�andA�determine the guilt or innocence evaluating only the evidence presented at the trial.

The presumptionA�ofA�innocence implies that people who are accusedA�ofA�a criminal act must be treated in accordance with this principle. When the circumstances require to have accused people temporarily deprivedA�ofA�their personal liberty they have to be separated from convicted persons, except for unusual circumstances. Defendants should normally not be shackled or kept in cages during trials or otherwise presented to the court in a manner indicating that they may be dangerous criminals. The media, moreover, should avoid news coverage undermining the presumptionA�ofA�innocence.

Defence lawyers should, always keep in mind the presumptionA�ofA�innocence when representing a client. For example, a lawyer should challenge the legitimacyA�ofA�any domestic provision attempting to undermine this principle. Also, counsels should attempt to anticipate weaknesses in the prosecution’s proofA�andA�consider researchingA�andA�preparing corresponding motions for judgementA�ofA�acquittal if the prosecution fails to produce evidence on any elementA�ofA�a crime. In deciding on a defence strategy, the lawyer, together with the accused, should consider whether the client’s interests are best served by not putting on a defence case,A�andA�instead relying on the prosecution’s failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The lawyer should enter a pleaA�ofA�not guilty in all but the most extraordinary circumstances where a sound tactical reason exists for not doing so.

During the investigation phase, the Police need only to establish a sufficient cause toA�arrest,A�andA�sustain a charge. They do not need to establish the arrested is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, it is during this time that the arrested is most likely subjected to a violationA�ofA�his rights, such as the right to remain silent or the right not to be forced to make any statement against himselfA�andA�therefore his right to be considered innocent until a final decision is reached.

Finally, all Police officials must respect the under listed International Human Rights Practice pertaining toA�Detention:

  • Enrol in training programmes to sharpen your counselling, riot-control, first-aid, self-defence, conflict resolutionA�and supervisory skills
  • Study the entry reviewA�andA�assessment recordsA�ofA�all detainees to be awareA�ofA�persons at risk
  • Facilitate visits by clergy, legal representatives, family members, inspectorsA�andA�medical personnel
  • StudyA�andA�employ modern best practice techniques for interviewing
  • Wear a clearly visible identity badge at all times
  • Do not enter the facility carrying a firearm, except to transport a detainee outside
  • Carry out regular, periodic checksA�ofA�detainees, to ensure safetyA�andA�security
  • Consult closely with medical personnel on all mattersA�ofA�diet, restraintA�andA�discipline
  • Report immediately any suspicionA�ofA�mistreatmentA�ofA�detainees, physical or mental
  • NeverA�useA�restraint instruments for punishment.A�UseA�them only where necessary to prevent escape during transfer; on certified medical grounds; or on theA�orderA�ofA�the Officer, where other methods have failed, for the purposeA�ofA�preventing injury to the detainee or others, or damage to the facility
  • Facilitate theA�useA�ofA�recreational materials, booksA�andA�writing materials
  • Carefully study rules on theA�useA�ofA�force
  • ReviewA�andA�follow relevant recommendations set out below for commandA�andA�supervisory officials

CommandA�andA�supervisory officials

  • Establish, disseminateA�andA�enforce,A�andA�regularly review, standing orders on the treatmentA�ofA�detainees
  • Provide specialized training to all staff having duties inA�detentionA�facilities
  • Adopt special measures to ensure respect for religiousA�andA�moral beliefsA�ofA�detainees, including dietary customs
  • Enforce a three-point notification system, giving the detainee: noticeA�ofA�the reason for his or herA�detentionA�(immediate); notice ofA�charges (prompt);A�andA�noticeA�ofA�his or her rights (twice: concurrent with notificationA�ofA�reason,A�andA�again with notificationA�of charges)
  • In making assignments, arrange to have officers supervising detainees independent from arresting officersA�andA�investigating officers
  • Meet periodically with the prosecutor, a Judge, Police investigatorsA�andA�social workers, to assist in identifying persons for whom detentionA�is no longer necessary
  • Assign female staff to guard, searchA�andA�supervise female detainees. Prohibit the entry in female sectionsA�ofA�male staff, except in emergencies
  • Assign a special room, separate from family visit areas, for detainees to meet privately with legal counsel
  • Arrange a meeting area for normal face-to-face visits, with a grille, table or similar divider between visitorA�andA�detainee
  • Strongly prohibit, immediately investigateA�andA�severely punish, including through initiationA�ofA�criminal action, every actA�oftortureA�or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Provide for meals, meeting basic dietary needs, at regular times,A�andA�with no more than 15 hours between morningA�andA�evening meals
  • Assign at least one officer with training in psychological careA�andA�counselling, including suicide prevention, to be on duty at all times
  • Assess all detainees, upon entry, for signsA�ofA�illness, injury, alcohol or drug intoxication,A�andA�mental illness
  • Handle minor mattersA�ofA�discipline discreetlyA�andA�routinely. Handle more serious matters through pre-established procedures, the existenceA�ofA�which has been explained to all detainees upon entry
  • Officers inA�detentionA�areas should not carryA�firearmsA�except when transporting detainees outside the facility
  • Train all officers assigned toA�detentionA�areas in nonlethal control methodsA�andA�in riot-control techniquesA�andA�equipmentA�use
  • Require allA�detentionA�officers to wear clearly visible identity badges, to facilitate accurate reportingA�ofA�violations
  • Establish a positive relationship with the Amnesty InternationalA�andA�other such organizations
  • EstablishA�andA�announce an appropriate rangeA�ofA�penalties for police violations, from suspension, pay dockingA�andA�termination, to criminal prosecution for serious violations


The Basic Principles on theA�UseA�ofA�ForceA�andA�FirearmsA�by Law Enforcement Officials was adopted by the Eight United Nations Congress on the PreventionA�ofA�CrimeA�andA�the TreatmentA�ofA�OffendersA�andA�was welcomed by the General AssemblyA�ofA�the UN in resolution 45/166 in 1990.A� As such, it is not legally binding for the Member States, but rather seeks to further clarify aspectsA�ofA�the CodeA�ofA�Conduct for Law Enforcement OfficialsA�andA�provide guidelines that it encourages States to adoptA�andA�implement.

General provisions

  • GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall adoptA�andA�implement rulesA�andA�regulations on theA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�against persons by law enforcement officials. In developing such rulesA�andA�regulations, GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall keep the ethical issues associated with theA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�constantly under review.
  • GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies should develop a rangeA�ofA�means as broad as possibleA�andA�equip law enforcement officials with various typesA�ofA�weaponsA�andA�ammunition that would allow for a differentiatedA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearms. These should include the developmentA�ofA�non-lethal incapacitating weapons forA�useA�in appropriate situations, with a view to increasingly restraining the applicationA�ofA�means capableA�ofA�causing death or injury to persons. For the same purpose, it should also be possible for law enforcement officials to be equipped with self-defensive equipment such as shields, helmets, bullet-proof vestsA�andA�bullet-proof means ofA�transportation, inA�orderA�to decrease the need toA�useA�weaponsA�ofA�any kind.
  • The developmentA�andA�deploymentA�ofA�non-lethal incapacitating weapons should be carefully evaluated inA�orderA�to minimize the risk ofA�endangering uninvolved persons,A�andA�theA�useA�ofA�such weapons should be carefully controlled.
  • Law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to theA�useA�of forceA�andA�firearms. They mayA�useA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�only if other means remain ineffective or without any promiseA�ofA�achieving the intended result.
  • Whenever the lawfulA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall:

(a) Exercise restraint in suchA�useA�andA�act in proportion to the seriousnessA�ofA�the offenceA�andA�the legitimate objective to be achieved;

(b) Minimize damageA�andA�injury,A�andA�respectA�andA�preserve human life;

(c) Ensure that assistanceA�andA�medical aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest possible moment;

(d) Ensure that relatives or close friendsA�ofA�the injured or affected person are notified at the earliest possible moment.

  • Where injury or death is caused by theA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�by law enforcement officials, they shall report the incident promptly to their superiors, in accordance with Principle 22.
  • Governments shall ensure that arbitrary or abusiveA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offence under their law.
  • Exceptional circumstances such as internal political instability or any otherA�publicA�emergency may not be invoked to justify any departure from these basic principles.

Special provisions

  • Law enforcement officials shall notA�useA�firearmsA�against persons except in self-defence or defenceA�ofA�others against the imminent threatA�ofA�death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetrationA�ofA�a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, toA�arrestA�a person presenting such a dangerA�andA�resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape,A�andA�only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethalA�useA�ofA�firearmsA�may only be made when strictly unavoidable in orderA�to protect life.
  • In the circumstances provided for under principle 9, law enforcement officials shall identify themselves as suchA�andA�give a clear warningA�ofA�their intent toA�useA�firearms, with sufficient time for the warning to be observed, unless to do so would unduly place the law enforcement officials at risk or would create a riskA�ofA�death or serious harm to other persons, or would be clearly inappropriate or pointless in the circumstancesA�ofA�the incident.
  • RulesA�andA�regulations on theA�useA�ofA�firearmsA�by law enforcement officials should include guidelines that:

(a) Specify the circumstances under which law enforcement officials are authorized to carryA�firearmsA�andA�prescribe the typesA�ofA�fire arms andA�ammunition permitted;

(b) Ensure thatA�firearmsA�are used only in appropriate circumstancesA�andA�in a manner likely to decrease the riskA�ofA�unnecessary harm;

(c) Prohibit theA�useA�ofA�thoseA�firearmsA�andA�ammunition that cause unwarranted injury or present an unwarranted risk;

(d) Regulate the control, storageA�andA�issuingA�ofA�firearms, including procedures for ensuring that law enforcement officials are accountable for theA�firearmsA�andA�ammunition issued to them;

(e) Provide for warnings to be given, if appropriate, whenA�firearmsA�are to be discharged;

(f) Provide for a systemA�ofA�reporting whenever law enforcement officialsA�useA�firearmsA�in the performanceA�ofA�their duty.

Policing unlawful assemblies

  • As everyone is allowed to participate in lawfulA�andA�peaceful assemblies, in accordance with the principles embodied in the Universal DeclarationA�ofA�Human RightsA�andA�the International Covenant on CivilA�andA�Political Rights, GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies andA�officials shall recognize thatA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�may be used only in accordance with principles 13A�andA�14.
  • In the dispersalA�ofA�assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officials shall avoid theA�useA�ofA�forceA�or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict suchA�forceA�to the minimum extent necessary.
  • In the dispersalA�ofA�violent assemblies, law enforcement officials mayA�useA�firearmsA�only when less dangerous means are not practicableA�andA�only to the minimum extent necessary. Law enforcement officials shall notA�useA�firearmsA�in such cases, except under the conditions stipulated in Principle 9.

Policing persons in custody orA�detention

  • Law enforcement officials, in their relations with persons in custody orA�detention, shall notA�useA�force, except when strictly necessary for theA�maintenanceA�ofA�securityA�andA�orderA�within the institution, or when personal safety is threatened.
  • Law enforcement officials, in their relations with persons in custody orA�detention, shall notA�useA�firearms, except in self-defence or in the defenceA�ofA�others against the immediate threatA�ofA�death or serious injury, or when strictly necessary to prevent the escapeA�ofA�a person in custody orA�detentionA�presenting the danger referred to in principle 9.
  • The preceding principles are without prejudice to the rights, dutiesA�andA�responsibilitiesA�ofA�prison officials, as set out in the Standard Minimum Rules for the TreatmentA�ofA�Prisoners, particularly rules 33, 34A�andA�54.

Qualifications, TrainingA�andA�Counselling

  • GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall ensure that all law enforcement officials are selected by proper screening procedures, have appropriate moral, psychologicalA�andA�physical qualities for the effective exerciseA�ofA�their functionsA�andA�receive continuousA�andA�thorough professional training. Their continued fitness to perform these functions should be subject to periodic review.
  • GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall ensure that all law enforcement officials are provided with trainingA�andA�are tested in accordance with appropriate proficiency standards in theA�useA�ofA�force. Those law enforcement officials who are required to carry firearmsA�should be authorized to do so only upon completionA�ofA�special training in theirA�use.
  • In the trainingA�ofA�law enforcement officials, GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall give special attention to issuesA�of police ethicsA�andA�human rights, especially in the investigative process, to alternatives to theA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearms, including the peaceful settlementA�ofA�conflicts, the understandingA�ofA�crowd behaviour,A�andA�the methodsA�ofA�persuasion, negotiationA�andA�mediation, as well as to technical means, with a view to limiting theA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearms. Law enforcement agencies should review their training programmesA�andA�operational procedures in the lightA�ofA�particular incidents.
  • GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall make stress counselling available to law enforcement officials who are involved in situations whereA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�are used.

ReportingA�andA�Review procedures

  • GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall establish effective reportingA�andA�review procedures for all incidents referred to in principles 6A�andA�11 (f). For incidents reported pursuant to these principles, GovernmentsA�andA�law Enforcement agencies shall ensure that an effective review process is availableA�andA�that independent administrative or prosecutorial authorities are in a position to exercise jurisdiction in appropriate circumstances. In casesA�ofA�deathA�andA�serious injury or other grave consequences, a detailed report shall be sent promptly to the competent authorities responsible for administrative reviewA�andA�judicial control.
  • Persons affected by theA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�or their legal representatives shall have access to an independent process, including a judicial process. In the eventA�ofA�the deathA�ofA�such persons, this provision shall apply to their dependants accordingly.
  • GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall ensure that superior officers are held responsible if they know, or should have known, that law enforcement officials under their command are resorting, or have resorted, to the unlawfulA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearms, andA�they did not take all measures in their power to prevent, suppress or report suchA�use.
  • GovernmentsA�andA�law enforcement agencies shall ensure that no criminal or disciplinary sanction is imposed on law enforcement officials who, in compliance with the CodeA�ofA�Conduct for Law Enforcement OfficialsA�andA�these basic principles, refuse to carry out an orderA�toA�useA�forceA�andA�firearms, or who report suchA�useA�by other officials.
  • Obedience to superior orders shall be no defence if law enforcement officials knew that anA�orderA�toA�useA�forceA�andA�firearmsA�resulting in the death or serious injuryA�ofA�a person was manifestly unlawfulA�andA�had a reasonable opportunity to refuse to follow it. In any case, responsibility also rests on the superiors who gave the unlawful orders.

The following must be taken into consideration when usingA�torture,A�useA�ofA�forceA�&A�firearms

  • Everyone has the rights to life, securityA�ofA�the person,A�andA�freedom fromA�tortureA�andA�cruel, inhuman or degrading treatmentA�and punishment
  • Non-violent means are to be attempted first
  • ForceA�is to be used only when strictly necessary
  • ForceA�is to be used only for lawful law enforcement purposes
  • No exceptions or excuses shall be allowed for unlawfulA�useA�ofA�force
  • UseA�ofA�forceA�shall always be proportional to lawful objectives
  • Restraint is to be exercised in theA�useA�ofA�force
  • DamageA�andA�injury are to be minimized
  • A rangeA�ofA�means for differentiatedA�useA�ofA�forceA�is to be made available
  • All officers are to be trained in theA�useA�ofA�the various means for differentiatedA�useA�ofA�force
  • All officers are to be trained in theA�useA�ofA�non-violent means
  • Accountability for theA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearms
  • All incidentsA�ofA�theA�useA�ofA�forceA�orA�firearmsA�shall be reported toA�andA�reviewed by superior officials
  • Superior officials shall be held responsible for the actionsA�ofA�police under their command if the superior official knew or should have knownA�ofA�abuses but failed to take concrete action
  • Officials who refuse unlawful superior orders shall be given immunity
  • Officials who commit abusesA�ofA�these rules shall not be excused on the grounds that they were following superior orders
  • Permissible circumstances for theA�useA�ofA�firearms
  • FirearmsA�are to be used only in extreme circumstances
  • FirearmsA�are to be used only in self-defence or defenceA�ofA�others against imminent threatA�ofA�death or serious injury or

To prevent a particularly serious crime that involves a grave threat to life or

ToA�arrestA�or prevent the escapeA�ofA�a person posing such a threatA�andA�who is resisting efforts to stop the A� A� A� A� threatA�and

In every case, only when less extreme measures are insufficient intentionally lethalA�useA�ofA�forceA�and firearms shall be permitted only when strictly unavoidable inA�orderA�to protect human life

Procedures for theA�useA�ofA�firearms

The officer is to identify himself or herself as a police officialA�andA�the officer is to give a clear warningA�andA�the officer is to allow adequate time for the warning to be obeyed but this shall not be required if the delay would result in death or serious injury to the officer or others or if it is clearly pointless or inappropriate in the circumstances to do so

After theA�useA�ofA�firearms

  • Medical aid is to be rendered to all injured persons
  • The relatives or friendsA�ofA�those affected are to be notified
  • Investigations are to be allowed where requested or required
  • A fullA�andA�detailed reportA�ofA�the incident is to be

Finally, all Police officials must respect the under listed International Human Rights Practice pertaining toA�useA�Torture,A�UseA�of ForceA�&A�Firearms:

  • Enrol in training programmes to improve your skills in first aid; self-defence; theA�useA�ofA�defensive equipment; theA�useA�ofA�non-lethal instruments; theA�useA�ofA�firearms; crowd behaviour; conflict resolution;A�andA�personal stress management
  • AcquireA�andA�practise theA�useA�ofA�shields, defensive vests, helmetsA�andA�non-lethal instruments
  • Acquire, practiseA�andA�utilize a rangeA�ofA�means for the differentiatedA�useA�ofA�force, including non-lethal incapacitating weapons
  • Participate in stress-counselling activities
  • Carefully storeA�andA�secure allA�firearmsA�issued to you
  • Assume that every firearm is a loaded firearm
  • StudyA�andA�employ techniques for persuasion, mediationA�andA�negotiation
  • Plan in advance for the gradual, progressiveA�useA�ofA�force, beginning with non-violent means
  • Be alert as to the physicalA�andA�mental stateA�ofA�your colleagues,A�andA�intervene where necessary to see that they receive appropriate care, counselling or training

CommandA�andA�supervisory officials

  • EstablishA�andA�enforce clear standing orders on theA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearms
  • Provide regular training in first aid; self-defence; theA�useA�ofA�defensive equipment; theA�useA�ofA�non-lethal weapons; theA�useA�of firearms; crowd behaviour; conflict resolution; stress management;A�andA�persuasion, mediationA�andA�negotiation
  • AcquireA�andA�issue defensive equipment, including helmets, shields, bullet-proof vests, gas masksA�andA�bullet-proof vehicles
  • AcquireA�andA�issue non-lethal incapacitatingA�andA�crowd-dispersal instruments
  • Acquire the broadest possible rangeA�ofA�means for the differentiatedA�useA�ofA�force
  • Provide for periodic assessmentsA�ofA�officers, to gauge continuously their mentalA�andA�physical healthA�andA�suitability to judge the necessityA�andA�useA�ofA�forceA�andA�firearms

On a an ending note, I will advise the general public to take advantage of Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit to always report any irregularities noticed among the SARS personnel via: CALL ONLY: 08057000001, 08057000002; SMS/WHATSAPP ONLY: 08057000003 Twitter: @Police_PCRRU; BBM 58A2B5DE; E-MAIL: complaint@npf.gov.ng; policepcrru@gmail.com; FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/PolicePCRRU

Adewole Kehinde is a Journalist based in Abuja


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